Is gay the new black?: A discussion on the similarities between the black rights and gay rights movement

By Reana Palmer, ‘18

Drawing parallels between different oppressed groups is a fairly effective way to open the eyes of those who do not face the same daily challenges as the oppressed. Translating opinions and ideas into dialogue is a useful tool to explain complex topics to those who don’t quite understand.

The issue the Aggies United and Gay Straight Alliance joint discussion tackled were the obstacles that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and other sexual orientations (LGBTQ+) community faces on a regular basis.

LGBTQ+ representation in Hollywood was discussed in this meeting. Television shows are becoming increasingly progressive with their portrayal of the nontraditional family unit. This is important to everyday society, just like it is important to see people of color on screen. Young people are heavily influenced by media, and representation matters.

When young eyes see someone that is their skin tone, hair type, sexual orientation etcetera, they feel more comfortable in the skin they’re in. They’re more confident to live the life they desire.

While this is a step in the right direction, there are still some aspects hindering the normality of LGBTQ+ families and couples. In the discussion it was noted that, there are a million ways to be gay, but most shows reinforce the stereotype that one person in the relationship is flamboyant and the other is more traditional.

The suggestion of multidimensional nontraditional characters was made in the meeting. This would allow for more viewers to relate and understand the LGBTQ+ community more inclusively.

The LGBTQ+ community fights for validation in the same way people of color fought and continue to fight for equal rights. Rights like marrying who you love, hospital visitation, and being fully accepted as who you are by law. These principles are some that most (straight) people don’t even think twice about, because they are guaranteed to them.

This type of interaction on a college campus is exactly what students need, Michael Chang on researchgate implies. Without these types of interactions and diversity initiatives the quality and dynamic of education would be significantly lower.

You may walk out of an event such as this knowing something you never would have known otherwise. There is always room for more knowledge and grasp on topics such as these. Input is always valued and questions are always welcomed.